I hope the Easter weekend provided some joy and encouragement in your hearts and homes because things have certainly gotten more difficult for all of us since I last wrote an update.
Funeral services are on hold. Schools are closed. Some have lost jobs and many are struggling to make ends meet. The impacts of this invisible enemy are overwhelming.
“Social distancing” makes us feel isolated from our friends, neighbors and extended family.
It is so difficult in our close-knit community! My wife and I have little grandsons who struggle with our disappearance from their world and aging parents who also miss our care and attention. A heartfelt thank-you to all who are working hard to adhere to Gov. Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” proclamation. These measures are necessary for now. Public health is paramount.
However, many of your city councilors and I believe that some of the governor’s guidelines, specifically those that relate to building and construction, require wise and thoughtful interpretation and clarification for Lynden. We are confident that citizens can responsibly fulfill the intent of the governor’s directive by employing innovative ways to abide by recommended CDC health protocols on job sites without sacrificing livelihoods and business ventures, or incurring property loss. We are fortunate that our rural setting makes it possible to sacrifice neither public health nor our local economy with common-sense and careful practices. And we know our citizens are eager to comply, at home and on the job, with steps that actually reduce the transmission of the coronavirus.
Washington is one of just four states in the nation with construction restrictions which are, in our view, confusing and unnecessarily devastating. Therefore, my signature will join that of our County Executive and other Whatcom County mayors on a proposal headed to Gov. Inslee’s desk. As your elected leaders, we are seeking from the governor’s office clarification, we will offer some practical solutions, and we will pledge local enforcement once clear guidelines are in place.What may be necessary in Seattle may not be necessary in Lynden or other rural municipalities.
There’s some good news. Amid the confusion the COVID-19 virus has inflicted on us, the City continues to operate smoothly. Your police officers and firefighters are protecting you. Currently, an architectural firm is designing a significant renovation to our fire station.
If you are out and about, you have likely seen our Public Works crews being productive. They will be improving left-turn signals at some intersections and are preparing for an active summer building season. At long last, 17th Street will be completed north to Main Street. Watch for a new pedestrian path on the west side of Benson Road — a much-needed safety improvement for children attending Isom Elementary School.
Design work is under way to make the Heusinkveld Barn a functional gathering place. Likewise, design work has begun on the bridges and trails for Dickinson Park. A long-overdue restroom upgrade for Berthusen Park is slated for late summer.
Please accept my profound gratitude for your personal contributions and sacrifices in these difficult times. You wear masks and you sew masks. You smile, fist-bump, and try to encourage. You are quick to say “thanks for your service.” You have found ways to worship remotely. You are ordering take-out to help local businesses even when your own budget is tight. You volunteer to shop for those with compromised health, and you’re careful and aware in the grocery store or drug store aisles. Your kids are making cheerful cards for shut-ins. You are reaching out by video calls to encourage the most isolated among us.
It is this and more which makes me hopeful that we will emerge from these trials better, stronger and closer to each other than before. We’ll get through this, together.